101 Things Birmingham Gave The World. No 6. Dance Music

Since disco, all real pop music has been in thrall to the dancefloor and the beats are never more to the floor than when they are sampled. Synthesisers don’t cut it—unless you’re doing the Sparky’s Magic Piano bit on Mr Blue Sky—you need samples.

With samples you can force the four to the floor, you can get the big beat started, let them know what the fatboy’s trippin’ and at least n-n-n-n-n-n-n-nineteen other things.

But the first way to do this was with a sampler-keyboard that used tape strips: the Mellotron. And that was developed by Frank, Norm and Lesley Bradley of Bradmatic Ltd. In Aston. In Birmingham.

And it also gave the world prog rock, for which we are very sorry.

Author: Jon Bounds

Jon was voted the ‘14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands’ in 2008. Subsequently he has not been placed. He’s been a football referee, venetian blind maker, cellar man, and a losing Labour council candidate: “No, no chance. A complete no-hoper” said a spoilt ballot. Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama performed on Twitter when he persuaded a cast including MPs and journalists to give over their timelines to perform Twitpanto. But all that is behind him.